The ‘closer’ is the individual tasked with persuading a potential client that your law firm is the ideal choice for their case.
We’ve written several blogs centered on operational aspects of law firms, emphasizing the significance of a seamless intake process. A key component of this process is the initial interaction with an attorney.
In your role as an attorney and quite possibly the owner or senior leadership member within your firm, your schedule is demanding, filled with case work, personnel management, office operations, and numerous other responsibilities. With a busy schedule, one of the tasks that is often mistakenly delegated is the intake process. This decision is usually because of the time required for intake screenings, which causes unexpected interruptions and takes you away from other case work.
It is not uncommon for attorneys to delegate intake responsibilities, and often, even the process leading up to case signing, to staff members. It’s fortunate to have a tenured team member capable of handling this role, although this is not always the case. To maximize conversion, it’s essential for an attorney to be actively engaged in the initial intake process. And not just any attorney, your best client-facing attorney.
Highly effective law firms implement well-defined processes, conduct rigorous audits, and offer specialized training to manage every facet of client intake, with the attorney having a key role. It’s important to ensure that an attorney engages with a prospective client during the initial interaction to establish a strong commitment. The attorney serves as the closer, as they are ideally positioned to articulate the firm’s attributes, showcase their team, and highlight the firm’s track record in comparison to competitors.
The attorney should establish and solidify the attorney/client relationship, answer questions, clarify the services the firm can provide to the potential client and their case, and outline the procedural steps, including the fee agreement (at a minimum). This conversation should complement the interactions that the individual had with your team starting from the initial contact through intake thus far.
Here are some suggestions for the attorney portion of the intake:
- Address Concerns/Questions: Ensure that any concerns or inquiries have been addressed, fostering an environment of trust and clarity. Highlight important/key points of their case and what needs to be demonstrated to have a successful claim in accordance with the laws of your state.
- Highlight the Firm’s Experience and Successes: Share the firm’s track record and successes, instilling confidence in your expertise.
- Outline the Firm’s Case Process: Discuss the firm’s process, providing the potential client with a view of what they can expect during the entire case life cycle.
- Explain Contingency Fee Agreement (CFA): Detail the terms of the contingency fee agreement (CFA) and utilize an electronic CFA, making it convenient for the prospect to commit immediately.
- Conduct Comprehensive Intake Post-Signing: After the case is signed, consider conducting a thorough intake to solidify the client-firm relationship, gathering essential details enabling the firm to start work promptly. If this is done over the phone, it can make in-person appointments (if applicable) flow much more efficiently.
- Perform Regular Audits for Associate Attorneys: If associate attorneys perform some of these duties, ensure quality control by conducting periodic audits to maintain expected service levels.
In today’s competitive landscape, consumers have choices. When someone has experienced an accident or an injury, they often reach out to multiple law firms before making a decision. When they contact your firm, give them no reason to look any further. The first impression is critical because there are no retakes on intakes. An effective intake process is essential, with the attorney playing a key role as the “converter” or “closer.” It can be the deciding factor in whether you sign the case or your competitor does.